One of the most fundamental parts of Invisalign aligners to remember is that you must clean them. Although the aligners are supposed to be discarded every couple of weeks, they still need to be cleaned.
Otherwise, you risk having a stinky or filthy set of aligners to wear every day. Continue reading to learn about the best ways to keep your aligners clean.
The Difference Between Cleaning vs. Rinsing Invisalign Aligners
There is a distinction between cleaning and rinsing when it comes to Invisalign. Though rinsing your aligners will make them appear cleaner, the hidden accumulation of bacteria has not yet been addressed.
The fundamental cleansing procedure for nightly cleaning includes rinsing your aligners with water and brushing them with a soft-bristled toothbrush, not the one you use for your teeth. Use a gentle, clear liquid detergent to remove any dirt or food particles accumulated throughout the day. After brushing, thoroughly rinse and keep your Invisalign aligners in a protective case.
Cleaning Accessories You Will Need
Invisalign manufactures a product called “Steraligner” that comes with a tray. Rubbing alcohol and sodium bicarbonate, a natural antibacterial, is among its ingredients. Place your aligners in the tray and soak for 3 minutes to clean them. Brush them with warm water after rinsing off the sterilizing solution.
Invisalign also sells "cleaning crystals," a product that you dissolve in water. Immerse your aligners in the solution. Cleansing agents, such as sodium sulfate, are present in these crystals. These are the perfect choice for when you’re looking for a more accessible alternative, as their components are similar to those in solutions used to clean retainers.
Some cleaners are simply too harsh or harmful to use with your Invisalign aligners. Examples of these include denture cleaners, mouthwashes, scented soaps, and toothpaste.
You should also avoid using cleaning products with colors (such as blue, red, or green soaps). These have the potential to discolor your Invisalign, which you will be wearing for a total of two weeks. You should also avoid using a hard-bristled toothbrush as it can damage your aligners.
Best Cleaning Practices You Can Adopt
Although the simple cleaning technique mentioned above is frequently adequate to keep your aligners clean at night, it is not always the most effective.
An in-depth study into pathogens on invisible aligners that were replaced every two weeks for six weeks looked at three different approaches involving thorough water rinsing, brushing with effervescent tablets, and cleaning Invisalign aligners separately with a soft-bristle toothbrush and toothpaste.
The study concluded that brushing with effervescent tablets was the most efficient way to clean aligners, followed by brushing with water.
How Often You Should Clean Your Aligners
You should clean your aligners every night, usually while brushing and flossing your teeth—this aids in the removal of any accumulated food, dirt, and bacteria during the day. You can also clean your Invisalign if they appear unclean, such as if you drank anything not clear while wearing them or if you put them on too quickly after eating.
In addition to more thorough cleaning, you should rinse your aligners every time you remove them. Even if you change your aligners every two weeks, they still require thorough cleaning. Failure to do so may result in discolored aligners (which make your teeth seem yellow) or bad breath (also a sign of bacterial build-up).
Invisalign is a popular way to straighten teeth, but it requires frequent cleaning to be helpful. By taking care of your aligners, you can keep them as clear and unnoticeable as possible. Because they are designed to be discarded, they cannot usually withstand aggressive cleaning procedures such as abrasive brushes or boiling water.
If you're experiencing difficulties keeping your aligners clean, talk to your dentist. They can also recommend various tactics targeted to your specific dental needs to assist you in keeping your mouth and aligners clean.
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